Howard Rheingold on 21st Century Literacy Skills at #RebootBritian #TG2009

by on July 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Howard Rheingold Keynoting Reboot Britain

Howard Rheingold Keynoting Reboot Britain

I had the good fortune to travel for a week with Howard Rheingold as part of our Traveling Geeks contingent to England. Being with him 24/7 is delightful. He rolls with the natural hiccups of travel, is cordial to one and all and is a deep thinker about the human condition as it meets the online world.

Howard’s keynote at Reboot Britain was his first pass at a new group of practices he believes are crucial skills for success in today’s online world.

Check yourself and see which you possess and where you can improve.

The five main skills, according to Howard are:

  • Attention
  • Participation
  • Cooperation
  • Critical Consumption
  • Network Awareness
Howard Rheingold
Image by SusanBratton via Flickr

Howard purports and I agree, that school is no longer enough to educate our students. If you’ve listened to my DishyMix interviews with Alvin Toffler, author of FutureShock and Revolutionary Wealth, Marcus Buckingham, author of The Truth About You or Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, you know I believe our schools are failing our children.

This presentation hit home for me as a litmus test to both my personal skills as well as those of my daughter. Howard says learning is happening outside the classroom via participation with others, including via online gaming and socnet interaction. He says that “being an active citizen has values on many levels that support learning.” As I’ve said before, passive consumption is no longer enough.

First there’s attention. In a world of multi-tasking and content snacking, we must continue to pursue focus. It’s a required skill. How is your attention span?

Next are Participation and Cooperation. Howard points to the value of online collective action and collaboration as trends happening now in which we should participate. Here’s my post on next generation collaboration tools. Are you taking advantage of these online tools to fix problems, change the world or just work more efficiently? Your children will be, if they are smart.

Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold

Next is Critical Consumption, or as Howard calls it, taking a page from Ernest Hemingway, “Crap Detection.” He rails at the lack of critical thinking being taught in schools today. If we induce children to challenge authority by teaching them critical thinking, we won’t be able to control them in school. Now that anyone can post anything online, everyone must develop scrutiny, fact-checking, rational thought and critical thinking. Is that Wikipedia entry true? Did USA Today fact check that story? Doubtful on both counts.

Crap Detection 101 by Howard Rheingold

Finally, there’s Network Awareness. Who do we know? Who are we leveraging? Are you taking advantage of social networking tools to stay connected and grow your connections? A small number of distant connections has been proven to significantly empower one’s network. Are you proactive in your approach to online networking? Are you using it for good?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these or other skills you think are critical for our real-time, web-connected, networked world.

Susan Bratton and Howard Rheingold

Susan Bratton and Howard Rheingold

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